RCMP in Saskatchewan say it called off the police pursuit of a stolen truck that ended up colliding with a minivan and killing three women from Edmonton.
On Thursday morning, officers in Maidstone, Sask., began investigating the theft of three vehicles, including one three-quarter ton, flat deck truck.
According to the RCMP, officers found two of the three stolen vehicles at the junction of Highway 303 and Highway 16 near Lloydminster, Sask., on Friday around 2:30 a.m.
That's around the time they spotted the heavy-duty truck driving in the area. Officers tried to stop the vehicle, but it drove off.
They initiated a chase, however, their supervisor assessed the situation and called off the pursuit.
Witness wants answers after watching truck get away
A Saskatchewan man who says he witnessed the stolen vehicles in his yard and called RCMP took to Facebook to express his frustration and shock the truck was able to get away.
According to a post by Curtis Byford, he heard three vehicles pull into his yard after 1 a.m. CST.
He called RCMP, and waited for them to arrive. During that time, he says he witnessed the occupants of the three vehicles load into the one truck and drive off.
Byford said after two officers arrived and while he was giving them a statement, he saw the stolen truck return. After signaling to the officers they went after the vehicle, but came back a few minutes later saying they were told to stand down.
"I want answers," the post reads.
RCMP supervisor ended chase, citing policy
In an RCMP news release issued Saturday, division commanding officer and assistant commissioner Curtis Zablocki cited policy as the reason the chase was ended.
"Given that pursuits pose a serious risk to the public, the RCMP developed national policy that outlines the requirements for initiating a pursuit, the ongoing monitoring and assessing, and the decision to continue or terminate a pursuit," he said in Saturday's release.
RCMP reported about 35 minutes later that the truck collided with a minivan in the eastbound lane of Highway 16, five kilometres from Lloydminister on the Saskatchewan-Alberta border.
Two women, 35 and 37, were pronounced dead immediately, while a 53-year-old woman later died of her injures. A fourth woman, 32, was airlifted to hospital is critical condition.
RCMP Const. Ryan Reid said the women are from Edmonton's Liberian community.
No charges announced
On Friday, RCMP took a 26-year-old man suspect into custody in connection with the crash.
Police said the occupants of the truck fled before they arrived on scene and an investigation was underway to determine if more people were involved.
As of Saturday, no new information on potential charges had been released but RCMP said they will share information as the investigation unfolds.